Which Anime is Better: Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z?

dragon ball z

When it comes to anime, the Dragon Ball franchise is by far one of the most popular, in terms of popularity – this goes for popularity outside of the anime community as well. Since its original conception in the 1980s by Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball has transformed and evolved into an entirely different entity, with the biggest change happening between the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z anime (at the time, the manga was still just called Dragon Ball in Japan). It’s kind of hard to believe how a martial arts anime evolved into what we now see in Dragon Ball Z (and Dragon Ball Super, but we’re just going to be talking about Dragon Ball Z today). So, now the question remains…which anime is better: Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z?


Dragon Ball

In terms of animation, Dragon Ball is much different than Dragon Ball Z, because it was released many years prior to the sequel series, meaning that the animation technology and techniques that were available for Dragon Ball Z were not available when Dragon Ball was being animated. It’s a little bit more rough, there aren’t as many details, and it can feel a little bit flat sometimes – at least compared to Dragon Ball Z. Without comparison to the sequel series, the Dragon Ball animation is actually really good and holds up on its own.

Dragon Ball Z 

Dragon Ball Z, while still animated in a similar style as Dragon Ball, can be pretty far ahead of the original’s animation, especially in the back half of the series. It gets a lot more smooth and complex in later seasons, which makes it a lot more interesting to watch.

Overall, I think the animation gets a lot better in the sequel series, so I’m going to have to give it to Dragon Ball Z.

Winner: Dragon Ball Z


Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball has drastically different fights compared to Dragon Ball Z, because the original Dragon Ball series focused primarily on martial arts combat, rather than Ki Blasts and (literally) out of this world moves like Piccolo’s Special Beam Cannon, or Vegeta’s Galick Gun. I’m not saying which fights are particularly better than the other, because it’s really a matter of preference, whether you like to watch the hand-to-hand combat or the ability fights.

Dragon Ball Z 

Like I said earlier, Dragon Ball Z is primarily focused on fights using abilities like the Kamehameha (which did actually make several appearances in Dragon Ball), Krillin’s Destructo Disc, and the Fusions that made an appearance in the Majin Buu Saga, which led to fantastic characters like Gotenks and Vegito. Fights in Dragon Ball Z are pretty heavily centered around being massive and having a giant arena (which tends to be entire planets most of the time).

When it comes to fights in the Dragon Ball series, it all honestly comes down to which style of fighting you prefer. Sure, the fight choreography in Dragon Ball Z is going to be better than Dragon Ball, but if you prefer the martial arts style of fighting rather than the unbelievable and unreal ability showdowns, then you’d like Dragon Ball better.

Winner: Tie


Dragon Ball

The original story of Dragon Ball revolved around Goku and Bulma on their journey to find the Dragon Balls, so that Bulma could wish for a boyfriend, but this then led to an entire series worth of shenanigans as Goku battled countless enemies like Emperor Pilaf, the Red Ribbon Army, and the Demon King Piccolo. All in all, it’s a fun story throughout the series, but it doesn’t really have any impact or greater stakes.

Dragon Ball Z

While Dragon Ball itself didn’t have a massively impactful story, Dragon Ball Z immediately kicks off with Goku’s son, Gohan, being kidnapped by Goku’s brother, a being called a Saiyan from another planet. There’s tons of death and destruction in Dragon Ball Z, but since most everyone can be brought back with the dragon balls, then there aren’t many stakes in this either, but still it feels a lot different than Dragon Ball did. If you’re trying to get yourself motivated to go lift some weights or run a mile, watch an episode of Dragon Ball Z, and I promise you that you’ll feel like you can bench press 500 pounds, and fight Goku himself. Maybe don’t actually try that, though…

Winner: Dragon Ball Z

Overall, I’m going to have to say that I think Dragon Ball Z is better than Dragon Ball. I still love the original Dragon Ball series, but Dragon Ball Z just makes me feel something entirely different, and it makes it a lot more enjoyable to me.

Image Credits: Twinfinite

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